Des Moines, Nov. 14 – Ahead of tonight’s Democratic debate, all of the Democratic campaigns in addition to two Republican campaigns met with twenty disability leaders in Iowa yesterday. Ben Chou, Martin O’Malley’s Constituency Outreach Director in Iowa, said the former governor is a champion for dignity for all people.
“Dignity for people who are disabled,” Chou emphasized following the meeting. “There are hazards for them when they are going to try and find a job, or whether they are at work and some sort of situation happens. These are the type of hazards, that the state, the city, your government should be responsible for.”
Previously O’Malley had spoken with The RespectAbility Report about the dignity of work for people with disabilities.
“There’s dignity in every life but there’s also dignity in work,” he said, noting that “people with disabilities labor under a disproportionally high unemployment rate.”
These comments reflect the economic challenge and harsh reality facing our nation’s 21 million working-age people with disabilities. 321,409 Marylanders between the ages of 18 and 64 have a disability. Of that number, just four out of 10 are currently employed.
Read the Full Transcript of Ben Chou’s Remarks:
Gov. O’Malley, when he talks about dignity, he’s talking about his governorship, he’s talking about his mayorship. That was a key theme of what he did, and what he always implemented, first and foremost when he was an elected official.
He is a City Councilman at heart. He is a person who goes and knocks on doors. He is the type of person who goes and canvasses, and goes and meets people at community meetings, that is the person he is. He was a City Councilman from 1991 to 1998, eight years of his life.
And in that time he realized that dignity is the most important aspect, whether it’s at home, or it’s at work, because there is dignity in having a job, and there is a dignity in going home.
That’s why he supported efforts for marriage equality. So that gay couples can find dignity in their household. That’s why for immigrants, he made sure that dignity is something where they could go home, feel safe and not get deported.
Dignity for people who are disabled. There are hazards for them when they are going to try and find a job, or whether they are at work and some sort of situation happens. These are the type of hazards, that the state, the city, your government should be responsible for.
To help ensure that every single person, whoever you are, whatever position, wherever you come from, you have the same opportunity and the same dignity to achieve as everyone else. That is Gov. O’Malley’s message, thank you so much.